A Cristal clear case

There’s been a lot of talk about Frédéric Rouzaud, managing-director of the Roederer winery which makes Cristal champagne, who was interviewed in the Economist. When asked if an association between Cristal and the bling lifestyle could actually hurt the brand, he replied:

“That’s a good question, but what can we do? We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.”

This led hip-hop mogul Jay-Z to announce that he will no longer serve Cristal in his 40/40 chain of clubs and will “lead a boycott in the world of hip-hop”.

“I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products,” Jay-Z said.

The statement wasn’t very wise, but racist? I’m not so sure. Maybe Mick Jagger was closer to the real reason back in 2003:

“I know you don’t think I spend any money but I do,’ he says. ‘Anyway, those of us brought up in the 50s were taught to be frugal. We don’t like throwing computers away as soon as they don’t work – apart from out the window in frustration. We like cars to be repaired instead of junked. We’re not brought up like Puff Daddy to be taking 30 free-loading friends to the south of France and spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on Cristal. The truth is, most English people, whether they’re rich or not so rich, just don’t behave like that.”